Living rooms across America have a little more room under the Christmas trees for the dog to hide or the Roomba to roll because consumers are spending less on gifts this holiday season.
Americans are not turning into Grinches. Instead, the pandemic is making a lot of people clutch their purses and wallets a little bit tighter this year. About 40% of Americans plan to spend less on gifts this holiday season than they did last year, according to the CNBC All-America Economic Survey.
While 11% said they plan to spend more, the 40% who will be tighter or more prudent marks the highest percentage for that category ever. The survey showed that the average U.S. consumer will spend about $886, a 10% decrease from what Americans were estimating before last Christmas. Another survey by L.E.K. Consulting showed a 14% drop from $465 per person to $400, so the numbers are hardly scientific.
“It does seem like those Americans earning over $100,000 are holding back a little bit more than they did in 2019,″ Hart Research partner Jay Campbell told CNBC.
The survey cited lost wages or income as the leading reason (29% of pollsters) for decreased spending, followed by the coronavirus (19%) and the poor economy (17%). Every income group planned to spend less, the survey showed. About one-third feared the economy will worsen in 2021 with the outlook falling along party lines.
Of course, those shoppers are turning to e-commerce more. The percentage of people planning to shop online in the U.S. went from 43% last year to 55% this year for the largest gain in the survey’s 14-year history.
So, what they’re saying is you’re getting socks instead of a tie this year if you are a dad and lower carats of diamonds and gold if you are a mom.